People hedge their bets.
I do this as a doctor. Often when I give a diagnosis, I give several alternatives, so that if the first diagnosis isn’t correct I don’t come across as a complete fool when I am proven wrong.
“Based on the location of the pain in your knee, the mechanism of injury, and the tenderness on exam, I believe you have torn your medical meniscus. Either that or it is a sprain. Or arthritis. Or a rare parasitic infection.”
I feel like someone who bets on every horse in the Kentucky Derby so when the race is over I can tell everyone that I picked the winner.
We are all like that. No one wants to be proven wrong, no one wants to be embarrassed, so we avoid all or none statements. We like to have options.
This may be comfortable, but it is not always possible. Some things in life are either true or they are not. Some questions have only one answer.
The question of Easter is a one answer question. Either Jesus of Nazareth rose from the dead, or he didn’t. The claims of the Christian faith are valid or they are not. There is no room in the middle. People have to pick a side.
No one understood this better than the Apostle Paul, the Jewish Rabbi who became the greatest missionary of the early Christian church.
Paul based his entire life on his belief that Jesus had risen from the dead. His commitment to Christianity cost him his faith, his career and ultimately his life. His investment was either incredibly wise or terribly foolish. There is no middle ground.
This dichotomy was not lost on Paul. He himself expressed this reality in a letter he wrote to fellow believers in the Ancient Grecian city of Corinth, saying, “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.”
Paul’s words are no less true today. Everything about the Christian faith hinges on a single event on a single day almost 2000 years ago. An event that either happened, or it didn't.
Christians proclaim that Jesus was not just a man, that he was actually God become man, that he lived a perfect life and then allowed himself to be put to death in a brutal fashion as payment for “sins”, rebellious acts against God, committed by every person who ever lived. As evidence for these remarkable claims Christians offer a single proof, Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. This is a risky position.
If Jesus did not rise from the dead then he is not the Son of God. His words are no more valuable or meaningful than any other moral teacher. People like Paul who make tremendous sacrifices for their faith are fools, complete, total and pathetically deluded fools.
If the resurrection of Jesus isdisproven, then all of Christianity comes crumbling down. Yet, if Jesus did rise from the dead, then He is everything Christians claim he is to be.
Given the profound implications, it seems that thoughtful, prudent people would take the time to explore the evidence put forth in support of the Christian teaching on the resurrection of Jesus. The matter is too important, the consequences too significant, to be dismissed out of hand. The question, “Did Jesus really live, die and rise again?” May be the most important any of us will ever answer.
Something to think about on Easter.
Thanks for reading and commenting. Questions are always welcomed.